Loads of Learned Lumber

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

David A. B. Murray, ed., _Homophobias: Lust and Loathing across Time and Space_

THIS IS EXACTLY the sort of thing I was hoping to find. Fone may be Eurocentric, but contributors to this volume write about Barbados, Indonesia, Jamaica, and India. Kantor may be under-theorized, but Murray and his contributors come on theory-rich:

Furthermore, what appears to be the same thing around the world--the persecution of mainly male homosexuals--may not in fact be due to the same factors and may not even be primarily about homosexuality but is rather a phenomenon produced through a complex nexus of gendered, classed, and raced inequalities which are in turn tied to long term local and transnational political and economic relations of inequality.

Right out of the gate, Murray's introduction (from which the above quotation is drawn) emphasizes that homophobia is "a socially produced form of discrimination located within relations of inequality," and not necessarily the same phenomenon as we turn from one culture to another, or, as Don Kulick puts it, the volume's authors discuss homophobia "without making the elementary error of taking the concept as an unproblematic, transcultural given."

Murray (like many) would even rather do without the term "homophobia," which is "inadequate both in analytical capacity and cross-cultural utility," but until we have a consensus on a replacement (= never, I daresay), it will have to do.

I had my favorite chapters here--Kulick, Constance Sullivan-Blum, Tom Boellstorff--but I can honestly say I got something out of every single chapter.  And how often can one honestly say that?  Not bad for a crew of anthropologists.

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